Steeling a Knight of Beauty-Part 5

copyright 1998 by Conner McBride

DISCLAIMER: You know the drill...

Daniel read the morning paper in amusement.  The little museum on Rue Debuque was 
apparently milking this robbery to the hilt.  
	/I wonder how the curators and Interpol would take it knowing they were snozzled
out of the world's rarest jewel by a bored aristocrat and his little ingenue./
	He knew how Harry was taking it.  The boy was as mad as hell...and just as intrigued.
From what Harry had told him about the twosome, the man was of much wealth, but it was the
female who interested Daniel more.  Harry was positively besotted with her, even if he wouldn't admit 
it.  From what he had said, apparently the girl was young, unassuming, and American. 
Daniel chuckled.  It was going to kill Harry not knowing who she was.


	Nick's dreams were as bright as the sun which he hid from.  As the gold of sunlight
bathed Paris outside, inside the darkened room, Nick's dreams were bathed in the brightness
of hope and innocence.  Two laughing girls, one in medieval garb and blonde, the other in 
modern clothes and brunette, swirled throughout his dreams, laughing at him.  Fleur's bright
blue eyes twinkled and Laura's smoldering dark eyes warmed him like flames in the fireplace.
Tonight he would not wake up in a pool of blood sweat.


	She was positively annoying him with her high temper and arrogance.  Annoying
him and intriguing the bloody hell out of him.  "Look luv, you needn't be so snippy.  I was
merely trying to be nice."
	Laura shrugged.  "So don't laugh at me."
	Harry felt like he was getting in over his head.  She was neither impressed nor
enthralled by him.  This was going to be harder than he thought.  He decided to try another 
tack.  "I told you, I wasn't laughing at you."  She seemed slightly mollified.  Good.  It 
was a start.  "So who was that with you in the resturaunt last night?"  Might as well get to
the point.  Laura's eyes widened.  "Wha--"
	Harry held up a hand to forestall her yelling for the police.  "I was in the same
resturaunt sitting across from you."  He eyed her clothes.  "Trust me, you were hard to miss."
	She smiled ruefully.  "So I don't wear Chanel.  Sue me, Mr. G.Q." 
	Her tone was mocking, but he detected a friendliness behind, even a sense of warmth.
Perhaps he was finally breaking behind that facade of toughness.  "And why the hell do you 
care who I was with," she snapped, once again on her guard.  /Ouch!/  He had gotten too 
comfortable.  He stammered, trying to find an excuse as to why he had noticed her at all.
Why had he noticed her?  "Well--it--uh, that is..."
	"Spit it out."  She seemed to be enjoying his consternation.
	"Well, you must admit, sitting in a resturaunt with a man twice your age when you 
look barely old enough to be out after dark would cause stares!"
	How dare she snap at him!  This little thing had no right to be so high and mighty
when she was in the same boat he was.  He heard her laughter.  She giggled.  "Geez, don't 
get into such a huff.  I was only kidding.  He's just a friend I met."
	Harry found his anger dissapating under that smile and those eyes.  He grinned 
sheepishly, stuffing his hands into his jacket pockets.  "Sorry.  I've got a bit o' an Irish
temper in me."  She was still laughing.  "Apology accepted."  
	Picking up her backpack, she turned to walk off.  Harry felt his opportunity slipping
away.  "Hey, where are you going?"
	Laura shrugged.  "Around.  Have to see what I can see before I can see."
	Harry ran up to catch up with her, trying to find some reason to stick around her.
Oh yes, and to get the Star.  He shook his head, as if trying to clear it.  /Damn it, man!
Stick to your guns.  It's the oldest trick in the book.  She's trying to lull you in./
	He decided to beat her to the punch.  Offering his hand, he smiled in his most
charming manner.  "By the way, my name's Harry."
	She shrugged, her wide smile making him momentarily forget why he was becoming friendly.
"You look like a Harry."  She took his hand.  "Laura."
	Harry grinned wickedly, raising her hand to his lips, causing her to blush again.  
For a thief, she became embarrassed quite easily.  He found it rather charming.  "What's
the matter, little girl?  Disobeying your mother's rule about talking to strangers?"  
	Laura smirked.  "You've been talking to Nick or something?"
	"Nick?  Ahhh, yes.  The gentleman you had dinner with last night."
	Her dark eyes widened as she backed up.  "How--"
	Harry raised his hand to put her fears to rest.  No need to have Laura fly away to
Nicholas LeCavalier like a frightened bird.  "Relax.  He's quite well known for his money,
from what I understand.  The lady I was dining with knew who he was and commented on it.
That's all."
	She relaxed slightly.  He twisted the knife a little deeper.  "So, he just a friend?
How close of a friend?"
	Laura's eyes narrowed at the implication.  "Look, I don't know what you think I am,
but he's a nice guy who's a friend.  That's all!  And why the hell am I explaining all this 
to you?"  She stormed off.
	/Bloody hell!/  Her temper had taken him by surprise.  Maybe he had pushed to hard.
He ran up to her, stepping in front of her.  "Look, I'm sorry the way that came out!  I 
didn't mean it.  I...well, I just wanted to make sure he wasn't an older brother who would
pound me into dust if I get near you."
	Laura stood there, debating whether or not to forgive and forget or to follow her 
instincts and beat it.  Strange how he had mentioned Nick by name.  She had a feeling Nick
would not like her talking to this guy.  Lee probably wouldn't have either.  She looked up
into an abyss of blue.  He had the most incredible eyes.  All her anger evaporated.
	"Look, he's not my brother, just a friend.  And I don't know why I'm even here 
answering you."
	Harry smiled down at her as they began walking towards the Champs Elysee'.  
"Maye because you realize I'm an intensely uncivilized sot and you have an immense amount
of charity in your heart, Miss Laura."
	She pretended to think it over.  "Nope. That's not it...the part about me having an
immense amount of charity, I mean."
	His blue eyes twinkled as he impulsively tucked her tiny hand in his arm.  This one
was a little firebrand.  Looking into those endless dark eyes, he could almost forget why
he was being so friendly.  The Rajah's Star came into his head...almost.


	Edward Ashby couldn't believe his immense luck.  There was Chalmer's little lapdog,
strolling down the Champs Elysee' with some little lass.  /Harry, me boy, you've just 
saved me alot of work.  You're going to give me that jewel./
	He noticed the unusual amount of attention Harry seemed to be heaping on the little
thing.  A grin, ugly and leering came upon his face.  Well, well.  It would appear Harry 
had a little lovely whom he happened to care about.  This could prove to be interesting.  
Ashyby wondered what Harry would do to keep her safe.